Geographic Minerals

Hawleyite: Properties and Occurrences

Hawleyite: Properties and Occurrences

Hawleyite is a rare sulfide mineral in the sphalerite group, dimorphous and easily confused with greenockite. It was discovered in 1955 in the Hector-Calumet mine, Keno-Galena Hill area, Yukon Territory and named in honor of mineralogist James Edwin Hawley (1897–1965), a professor at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

Chemically, it is a cadmium sulfide, and occurs as a bright yellow coating on sphalerite or siderite in vugs, deposited by meteoric waters.

General Information

  • Category: Sulfide mineral
  • Formula: CdS
  • Crystal system: Cubic
  • Crystal class: Hextetrahedral (43m)

Fig: Hawleyite (sphalerite group)


As Hawleyite is easily confused with greenockite, and they are fairly rare alteration product associated with fractures or indirect association with cadmium-rich Sphalerite or other cadmium-rich sulfides. It occurs as a fine, earthy, pulverulent bright orange to yellow coating.

  • Color: Bright yellow
  • Crystal habit: Powdery massive
  • Mohs scale hardness: 2.5-3
  • Luster: Metallic
  • Streak: Light yellow
  • Diaphaneity: Translucent to opaque
  • Specific gravity: 4.87

Occurrence: As coatings on fine-grained sphalerite and siderite in vugs; probably of secondary origin, deposited from meteoric waters in vugs and along late fractures.

Hawleyite is a widespread but uncommon mineral and can be found in localities in Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Ireland, England, Russia, New Zealand, Chile, India, and others.

Association: Sphalerite, siderite, greenockite.


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